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Inbee Park jumps out to early lead at HSBC Women’s World with husband on the bag

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With her husband on the bag, Inbee Park jumped out to the early lead at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore. Park, a two-time winner of the event, opened with a bogey-free 64 at Sentosa Golf Club, hitting every fairway, 16 greens and only 26 putts.

“I’m just really thankful that he’s carrying the bag,” said Park. “I don’t need an exact number. I don’t need anything. I just need him next to me, that’s all, just carrying the bag.”

This marks the second time Gi Hyeob Nam, who’s also Park’s instructor, has caddied for his wife. G.H. made his debut on the bag at last year’s AIG Women’s British Open, where Park finished fourth. The couple married in 2014.

When the LPGA went to Scotland last August for back-to-back events, players were kept in a strict bubble that included only the hotel and golf course. It’s the same this week in Singapore and Thailand, which is why having her husband step in as caddie allowed him to make the trip.

HSBC Women’s World Championship: Leaderboard

Players weren’t allowed to take guests on the two-week trip to Asia, only caddies. Protocols are so strict, in fact, that if a player’s husband happens to caddie for a different player, the couple can’t room together these next two weeks. David Buhai, for example, loops for Jeongeun Lee6, and not his wife Ashleigh.

Park, an LPGA Hall of Famer with 21 titles, said she and her husband read putts really well together on Thursday. It was so stress-free and enjoyable, in fact, that Park didn’t even know where she stood during the round.

“I hit a lot of great shots but probably left myself a lot of 10- to 15-footers,” said Park, “and I was able to make most of them, which has been the difference this year. You know, holing putts when you need to hole.”

Hee Young Park sits alone in second at 7 under while Sophia Popov, Xiyu Lin, Caroline Masson, So Yeon Ryu and Hyo Joo Kim are tied for third at 5 under.

Popov is one of 12 players making their debut in Singapore this week. As someone who loves to sightsee and get away from the game, these two weeks spent mostly inside a hotel room (even sidewalk strolls aren’t allowed) present a challenge for the 2020 AIG winner.

“Normally, I’m the kind of person, I use half my day to just go out there and experience something new and take my mind off of golf,” said Popov. “Now it’s really hard because you go back to the hotel room. You’re by yourself. You have to find other distractions other than just going out. You can’t leave the hotel. So I think that’s hard for me, being the kind of person that I am. I like to be very active.”

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original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/04/29/lpga-inbee-park-hsbc-womens-world-husband/

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